A Sicilian Romance
In A Sicilian Romance (1790) Radcliffe began to forge the unique mixture of the psychology of terror and poetic description that would make her the great exemplar of the Gothic novel, and the idol of the Romantics. This early novel explores the cavernous landscapes and labyrinthine passages of Sicily's castles and convents to reveal the shameful secrets of its all-powerful aristocracy. Julia and Emilia Mazzini live secluded in an ancient mansion near the straits of Messina. After their father's return to the island a neglected part of the house is haunted by a series of mysterious sights and sounds. The origin of these hauntings is only discovered after a series of breathless pursuits through dreamlike pastoral landscapes. When revelation finally comes, it forces the heroines to challenge the united forces of religious and patriarchal authority.
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Abate abbey alarm Ann Radcliffe apartment appeared apprehension arose banditti beauty castle of Mazzini cave cavern chamber circumstance concealed Cornelia count countenance dark daughter death descended despair discovered distance distress door dreadful Edited effect Emilia and Julia emotions endeavoured enquiries entered escape excited eyes fate father fear Ferdinand Gaston de Blondeville gloom Gothic Gothic Fictions Gothic Novel hall happiness heard heart heightened Henry Swinburne Hippolitus horror hour imagination instantly lady late length light listened Louisa Luce Irigaray Madame de Menon marchioness Marentino Maria de Vellorno marquis marquis's melancholy mind monastery mother Mysteries of Udolpho Naples night novel observed opened Palermo passed passion perceived person present quitted Radcliffe's recess recollection retired returned rocks scarcely scene secret seemed sensations servants shade Sicilian Romance Sicily sigh silent sister situation soon sorrow sound spirits stair-case sublime suffer sunk surprize tender terror trembled vault Vereza vermil Vincent voice wild wind